That Time I Tried Bouldering With My Kids

Aside from the variety of straight walls, there were overhangs, slanted climbs and two central walls where we could climb up and over the top, giving us a bird’s eye view of other climbers from up high. This was my son’s favorite part, of course, because how often do you get to stand on top of the world?

Trying Again…And Again…And Again.

My daughter balked on her first climb on the taller walls. “Mommy, I don’t think I like heights very much,” she said. No problem, I told her. Climb where she was comfortable and enjoy the day. Then she watched her brother go up and over the top of the wall, disappearing and then popping his face over to wave. Quiet determination kicked in, and she was over the wall (and up a harder route, not that I’m comparing…) on her next try. She quickly decided the reward was worth the risk, and that maybe she wasn’t as worried about the height after all.

My son, never one to take the easy way, decided he needed to finish a route up what was a pretty challenging wall, especially for a newbie ‘tween. He tried. And fell. And tried. And fell. Foolishly, I suggested an easier route. He kept trying his own way. He never made it up that wall, but the effort he put in was something to behold.

I started on an intermediate wall, confident I could handle more challenging holds. I could not. I chalked up my fingers and clung to not-so-tiny holds. I dug my toes into the wall, but fell onto the mats every time. Finally, I realized that, like my kids, what I really wanted to do was climb up and over the top of a wall. I also admitted that I needed to take an easier route to get there. Once I pulled myself over the top (on a novice route), I had the opportunity to enjoy a view of the gym from above.

What We Learned

Watching my son, I was reminded of the value of perseverance. One of my favorite things about him is his absolute inability to give up. My son grabs on to challenges in life like they are tiny holds on a bouldering wall. He never gives up and I know this will serve him well, whatever route he chooses to take in life.

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